I won't write a lengthy review about it, but two things about this movie that I noticed while watching it again this morning.
If you don't know, this movie is about a rigged quiz show in the 50's called "Twenty-One". First thing is I've realized what makes this movie great is how it makes viewers root for the "bad guy". Many movies have tried to make viewers root or feel sympathetic for the bad guy just by portraying them as a sympathetic character. Actually, two of the movies also up for best picture in 1994 were like this: Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption.
Viewers don't root for Charlie Van Doren (Ralph Finnes) because the movie is set up like those others. He's actually a pretty snotty jackass. Viewers end up rooting for Charlie in some ways because of his father. His father is an educated, honest poet who can barely handle the pressure of watching his son on the game show. Redford, who directed this movie, perfectly weaves more and more of the father into this picture as the inevitable becomes clear: Charlie's going to get busted. I think it's a brilliant way to navigate the story and make the viewer feel tension about the show being revealed as a fraud. Also, some of the dialogue involving the father is excellent. A great script all around.
The other thing I wanted to mention about this movie. What does it have in common with the following other movies:
- Pulp Fiction
- Shawshank Redemption
- Four Weddings and a Funeral
All four were nominated for best picture that year. And all four were beat out by the Bad Good piece of crap called "Forrest Gump." The Oscars are such a scam, kinda like this movie depicts of game shows.